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Aww, for posting such a comprehensive post for those who WILL come in the future!!CaliCatsMom wrote:On November 7, 2017 a veterinarian with a service called Laps of Love, came to our home and assisted with the passage of my beloved Cali Catrina, from this world to the next. Over the last few years, I have found help and support through this forum and have posted some of her story. And I would like to share the rest of it in her honor, as I now understand she is my Angel Cat who came to earth to teach me. My gift from God.
She first came to me in 2003 as an orphaned cat from my niece who orphaned her again when she was diagnosed with cancer and needed to immediately start treatment. She survived the cancer but her marriage did not and she never came back for the cat. I was going through some tough times myself, in a bad marriage involving children and having lost my job. I eventually packed my U-Haul and left with my one biological child and Cali Cat. And she was my comfort through divorce, bankruptcy and a series of 6 surgeries in 7 years that my daughter needed to correct some congenital orthopedic problems as she grew. With the help of family and friends I got a new job and took care of my little family the best I could.
On November 7, 2012 I received a phone call from a medical professional that had run some test on my Mother and she told me that my Mother had an esophageal tumor and that I needed to call hospice and bring my Mother in for a feeding tube so she could get food until such time as the tumor blocked off her airway. As this is not something I would do to even a vicious dog, we opted for a stent and cancer treatment, but my Mother did not make it and died in her sleep March 1, 2013.
Over the years I did not notice that Cali had gotten a little fat and unhealthy on her diet of kibble and canned food. She developed some aggressive behavior that was apparently related to arthritis, but she responded well to a change in diet and supplements of glucosamine/chondroitin.
But her renewed activity got her in trouble and in July 2013, by beloved Cali took a fall, suffered internal injuries and dislocated her spine. I did not have a regular vet where I had relocated to and asked a friend who sent me to a quack who told me she had a spinal injury and shot her up with prednisone, missing her internal injuries. As she laid on my lap, dying, with me sobbing as the stinkin’ quack did not respond to my calls, by odd coincidence, I got a phone call from a sister-in-law that I rarely spoke to, who recommended a local vet who was quite competent.
I called them sobbing and they saw her right away. X-rays and ulta-sound showed she had internal injuries and had damaged the tube between her ovary and uterus and it had swollen up to the size of an egg. Had it ruptured, she would have suffered a horrible, painful death. This second vet also identified a spinal injury and told me that she would probably be incontinent, even if we could save her. With the recent loss of my Mother, I could not bear another loss and so we opted to try to save her so they operated and basically spayed her.
My daughter, off school for the summer, took care of her post-operative. But even on prednisone, she was an aggressive snarling beast and very difficult to care for. I blamed the prednisone and took her off it, but then she just crumpled up into a ball of pain. I had been in so much pain over my Mothers death that it had become physical and I had started seeing a chiropractor for some of the symptoms. He had a wife that loved cats and he said he knew how to treat them and would see my Cali. But the vet said NO, they were dangerous. So I delayed taking her at first. But then the pain she was in made it worth the risk, so I took him her x-rays and he identified the subluxation and used a small hand held device to adjust her.
On the way home she was purring so loudly, I was so afraid something was wrong, but when I got her home she came out of her taxi, stretched out on the bed and started swinging her tail like before her accident. I became so hopeful she was cured.
Her pain was relieved but she was still incontinent. So as I am happily divorced, I made accommodation for her in our home, as she would not have survived long as an outside cat. For the first 6 months I hoped she would recover and implemented changes gradually. The following is the list of things I eventually implemented for her care:
Large litter box near her food – Cali partially trained back to mostly using her litter box to urinate. She needed an oversized box as she lost most of the instinct to squat. Maybe she lost the ability to squat. That in-between posture can be hard for disabled ones. She needed clay litter and I used catnip spray as an attractant. I built a PVC pipe frame and put a trimmed down plastic table cloth over the frame. When the cover would become damaged or too urine stained, it could be easily replaced. I would put pet pee-pee pads under and around it. With catnip. Sometimes she would just sit on the pads and do her business. I needed to be reasonable close to her food (5-10 feet) as eating triggered her needs to go. Fortunately my kitchen is linoleum as there can be some pee trail from the food to the box.
Small carpet/furniture cleaner – I used a Green Machine. I treated urine with a bacterial enzyme solution of Urine Digester and feces/vomit/blood with Quat (quaternary ammonium chloride) as a disinfectant (use with good ventilation, only – avoid inhalation, wash off contact) followed by enzyme. Small blue lights are available to find any stray urine spots. The Green Machine would tend to pick up odors and needed to be cleaned regularly, but I think there are some new ones out recently that may be easier to keep clean.
Furniture coverings – Several bedrooms I just closed off to her use, but she had the house and my room to live in. All furniture needs a water proof boundary. There are some nice fuzzy covers for couches and chairs. For dining room chairs I used plain plastic tie-ons. On the bed, I used a waterproof mattress cover from Walmart, one size up from the bed, with the elastic sides trimmed off. The cheapest one is plastic with a fuzzy side. That, I put under the bed for her. Walmart also sells one that is stretchy, with a nice fuzzy side so that you can put it over your bedding and it will not slip. Washing waterproof coverings is not the easiest thing to do. True!! I like washable human pee pads for my peepot (bed-sized ones) and cover it with soft bedding (he finds pee pads cold) and a top blanket he can manipulate himself under. I like crib mattress pads for some uses, but they're so stiff they're hard to wash. I use old, soft bed-sized mattress pads as the top blankets. I would generally use enzyme treatment in the wash and physically rotate the covering and give it an extra spin. They are not generally dryer friendly, so air and low heat drying is required. Clothes lines are good for that. LOL
Furniture covering coverings – As waterproof materials are hard to wash, I used disposable pet pee pads and regular human incontinence pads on top of them, covered with towels that are more easily washable. Mostly I used over-sized beach towels. They are less absorbent, but dry easier in the laundry. You can also layer the pads with those synthetic blankets, or throws. Use the thin ones, not the plush. I suggest a Speed Queen for the washer. No computers or plastic parts, and they're all but indestructible, being intended for laundromats. LOL
As she frequently did not feel well, I considered it necessary to allow her on the bed. On the bed I used a sheet, covered with the waterproof boundary, then a chenille bedspread, absorbent pads and then oversized beach towels.
I would make an effort to play with her and use catnip to get her to use her box. An incontinent cat will have less urine accidents if they have their bladder less than half full. She would mostly have her other accidents while sleeping so I would especially use towels and pads where she slept.
After Calis initial troubles were resolved, she developed inflammatory cystitis. I have made some posts about that here. It did turn out to be caused by the brewers yeast in her GNC Hairball Remedy that I was using due to her fecal incontinence. This was verified later when the vet recommended a catfood for her that contained it and her symptoms started to return. The problem came on gradually and every episode was worse, with more bloody discharge. Orbax was effective in temporarily treating it and the cycle was every 30-90 days. Once we stopped the brewers yeast she had one more mild episode and then they stopped. I did not learn of the brewers yeast problem from any veterinary source, but from the research and findings on this condition as it occurs in humans.
Once I stopped the brewers yeast product, Cali did quite well for some time. She had a general improvement that was reflected in her tail movement and position as she became able to raise it back to that 90 degree position.
Then in May 2015 I came home and my girl was tail down and she started having problems with chronic constipation. Since September 2015, Cali required regular trips to the vet for constipation. She would poop for 4-5 days then 3-4 days after that and start vomiting and stop eating.
I consulted a neurologist. We eventually had her on two medications, and I tried all kinds of supplements and dietary changes, chiropractic and acupressure but it remained a problem. I really do not know if she was just losing colon function or she was developing intestinal cancer back then, but it was a tumor in her small intestines that finally took my beloved Cali from me.
So, for the last two years, we have been fighting chronic constipation and what I learned did not save my Cali, but probably did save my own life. In gratitude and in honor of her, I would share what was learned with those who have had the patients to read our story so far.
The medications we used were Cisapride and Propranol. They made minimal improvement to her constipation, but both benefitted her bladder emptying. The one suggestion I would make for anyone using them is that you use the dermal versions. I otherwise would have discontinued them as they upset the digestive system. But be careful as the bioavailability and dosage oral/dermal is very different, particularly with Propranolol. Cisapride is about 2X more available dermally. Based on rabbit studies and IV dose, Propranolol is about 6X more bioavailable. This is also what I observed. There was a significant improvement in her appetite when I went from oral to dermal Cisapride. There are way fewer side effects when using the dermal versions of these medications.
Chiropractic treatment helped. It got to a point I could feel her spine myself and know if she needed treatment. Cats spines are so easy you can even do some minor adjustment with massage.
Prebiotics and probiotics help. Most cats have a 1-2 day transit time. Cali had a 5 day transit time. At first I needed to use lactulose to keep her stool soft, then she had problems with soft stool and we cut that out. Then soft stool became a problem. Maybe that was the earliest sign of her cancer. Most medications and supplements gave Cali Cat softer stool. The only two things that gave her firmer stool were glutamine and Gastryzyme (1/4 tablet). But I had a terrible time getting her to take the Gastryzyme as she hated the taste. The glutamine (100 mg) I gave her was from a product called Ageless GI Recovery you can find at a website called gutsense.org. I found most of the information there to be very valuable for Cali and for me. It has really helped me resolve some underlying health problems that became acute with the stress I had been under.
One other recommendation I would like to make is the use of acupressure, the book Acu-Cat A Guide to Feline Acupressure. This stuff really works and it was through it that I had the first indication her problem was in her small intestine and reported that to the vet before the diagnosis of cancer there.
Otherwise her supplements were Vitamin B, 1000 mg of vitamin B-12 (for nerve pain) and glucosamine/chondroitin. I would also have given her fish oil for the Omega 3 but that caused her stools to be too soft so I fed her a high fish diet.
I will never know if the chronic constipation caused the cancer or the cancer caused the chronic constipation, but the cancer was missed until it was too late and she was too far gone to fight it. And as the nagging voice in the back of my mind says I should have tried one more surgery on the small chance that I could keep her here with me a little while longer, I cannot deny the signs she gave me that she was ready to go, but would have suffered whatever I would put her through to please me.
The last 6 months she has not been doing so well and I prayed often to God to give me direction. She stopped grooming as much and I was washing her more. She would sit apart from me in apparent discomfort. And she was losing weight. Too late we found out why.
My last Christmas with Cali was good with few problems. I thank God for the extra years with her I have had since I almost lost her from her fall. I am bereft at her passing I would rather have cut out my own heart. Now that her spirit is free I feel no resentment from her, only her love and concern for me. It has since become apparent, that she always was an Angel Cat.
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